Vocational Training, Academic Cooperation and University Twinning

Vocational training, Algeria. Copyright: photothek.netIf partner countries are to resolve their development problems, they need qualified local experts more than anything else. One important aspect of development cooperation is then to provide vocational training to local specialists and executives. Twinning arrangements with academic institutes and universities link partner countries to the global knowledge network.

Vocational training for specialists and executives

Vocational training aims to provide further technical training for specialists and executives from developing countries, and to strengthen their management skills. Training and dialogue are international human resources development instruments and serve to establish and strengthen those institutions in partner countries which are relevant to development. The overarching theme of environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources plays a major role in all further training courses.

Practice-oriented programmes

A man works with a microscope. Copyright:, Thomas ImoThe broad range of methodological instruments offers specialists and executives professional and tailored solutions to help them achieve their goals. Practice-oriented programmes give participants knowledge over a period of up to one year, which they could not (yet) acquire in the partner country. If the courses are held in Germany, the intercultural exchange of ideas and experience plays a role, as does the need to come to terms with life in a modern industrialised state.

In addition to these long-term courses, a large number of shorter-term seminars and courses are offered in Germany and abroad. As well as building technical knowledge, these courses aim to promote a dialogue and exchange of experience between developing and industrialised countries, and equally among developing countries.

The German Länder (federal states) are also involved in further training programmes.

State bodies and German industry provide training places, in some cases free of charge. Most of the individual programmes are implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The DW-Akademie's Radio and Television Training Centre conducts training and advisory projects for broadcasting specialists from developing countries on behalf of the BMZ and with BMZ funding.

Academic cooperation and university twinning

To solve global structural problems, dedicated academics are needed around the globe. The BMZ promotes further training for experts in development-relevant academic fields, and helps link partner countries up to global knowledge networks.

The academic cooperation and university twinning programmes are in the main conducted by two organisations:

  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) assists a large number of students from partner countries every year and enables them to undertake postgraduate studies, for instance by providing scholarships.

  • The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) assists highly qualified academics in the field of pure research.

Follow-up contacts

The knowledge and experience that former scholarship holders have acquired at German universities, in research projects or in the field of vocational training makes them important multipliers. They can support development in their home countries. The follow-up contact to these scholarship holders is important for the long-term success of the measures.

The organisations which are responsible for the promotion of specialists trained in Germany have thus developed a variety of instruments which they use to maintain contact with former scholarship holders. They send out journals or hold in-country seminars, for instance.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) makes use of the benefits of the internet: on its Global Campus 21 website it runs special learning programmes and provides other opportunities to share knowledge and experience.

With its alumni programme, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) specifically targets graduates from developing countries who studied at German universities at their own expense. Further training events, such as alumni summer schools and seminars for experts, help establish particularly sustainable and specialised networks, often with the involvement of German industry.

BMZ glossary

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